Self-Care for Mothers: A Guide to Prioritising Your Well-Being
Motherhood is a profound and fulfilling journey, but it is true what they say – you have no idea how hard it is until you’re doing it. Mothers take on the incredible task of nurturing and caring for their families. While the love and joy that come with motherhood is immeasurable, the responsibility and constant juggling of tasks can be overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the critical importance of taking care of yourself as a mother and provide a range of practical tips to help you make self-care an integral part of your daily life.
The Importance of Self-Care for Mothers
Mothers are often seen as superheroes who can handle everything, but it’s essential to remember that you are human and need nurturing just like anyone else. Make sure that the relentless focus on caring for others does not lead to neglecting your own well-being. Here are some of the several compelling reasons you should prioritise self-care:
Recharge your batteries
Just as electronic devices need recharging to function optimally, so do you. And, with the extensive pressure that lies on you a mother, it is incredibly important that you find the time you need to replenish your mental, emotional, and physical energy. Self-care provides that much-needed recharge, allowing you to continue providing the best care for those who rely on you.
Parenting is undoubtedly a rewarding experience, and it is also a stressful one. As a mother, you face numerous daily challenges, and self-care is a powerful tool for stress management. By taking time for self-care, you can develop coping mechanisms that make navigating the complexities of motherhood more manageable. The benefits of taking care of yourself will be the most blatant when you need them most – when you’re exhausted, the kids are screaming, and it feels like nothing is going to plan.
Leading by example
As a mother, you are your child’s first and most influential role model. It is true that children do as you do not as you say. By taking care of yourself, you’re setting your children up to grow up to do the same. You are teaching your children the value of taking care of themselves and their well-being. This essential life lesson will serve them well throughout their lives.
Taking care of your health
Taking time for self-care is not only good for your health in itself, but you can tailor your self-care rituals for your individual needs, and alter it over time. For example, if you’ve been struggling with tension headaches, you can be giving yourself a massage and practicing a relaxation meditation. The time you put aside for self-care is yours to do with as you please whether that’s pamping yourself, a hobby you enjoy, reading, whatever it is! Regular self-care practices have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. Prioritising your well-being will most likely lead to improved overall health, making you a better and more present mum.
Now that we’ve established the importance of self-care for mothers, let’s delve into a comprehensive set of practical tips to help you incorporate self-care into your busy life.
Practical self-care tips for mothers
Create a self-care routine
Just as you establish routines for your children, consider creating a self-care routine for yourself. It can be as simple as setting aside 15 minutes each day to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bath, practicing deep breathing, or enjoying a cup of tea, this time is dedicated to nourishing your own well-being. It is important that you take this time as seriously as you would a work meeting or doctor’s appointment. Don’t allow it to slip through the cracks!
Delegate and ask for help
You don’t have to do everything on your own. As a mother, you may forget that you have a support system that includes partners, family members, or close friends. Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks and ask for assistance when you need it. Sharing responsibilities can ease the load and allow you to feel a bit more space for yourself and your own needs.
If there’s one thing you do for your wellbeing, prioritise sleep. Adequate rest is fundamental to your well-being. Try to get enough sleep each night and take short power naps when you can. We think this post offers some interesting tips that you might not have thought of before, to help you get a good night’s rest. A well-rested mum is more patient, energetic, and better equipped to handle the daily challenges of motherhood.
Don’t forget to nourish yourself with nutrient-dense, quality food
Proper nutrition is essential for your energy and overall health. By the time you’ve fed your children, you may lack the motivation to put together a nourishing and appealing meal for yourself, but don’t forget to take care of your own dietary needs. Eating well-balanced meals will ensure you have the stamina and vitality needed to fulfill your mum responsibilities.
Exercise regularly, and with a personal trainer if you can!
Regular physical activity is not only fantastic for your physical health but also for your mental well-being. Find a type of exercise you enjoy, whether it’s walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing, and make it a regular part of your routine. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, which can help combat stress and enhance your overall happiness. Exercise can even help you improve your self-esteem which underlies the way you live your life – find out how here.
Consider investing in a personal trainer, one that specialises in pre and post-natal fitness if you’re pregnant or have recently had a baby, such as the ones we have here at MotivatePT! As a busy mum, personal training may suit you well because you won’t let other commitments take over when you’ve committed to a session with your trainer, you don’t have to plan your workout or worry you’re not doing it safely or effectively, and you get to have the company of a supportive adult which you may appreciate if most of your inter-personal time is spent with your kids!
Mindfulness is a muscle that needs to be worked out in order to be strong. The benefits of developing your mindfulness muscle are many: emotional resilience, patience, lower reactivity, contentment, improved focus, mental clarity, and more. We have a post on meditation as a wellness practice that go into the benefits in much more deeply, while giving you valuable practical insights! You can start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable with the practice. I recommend looking up some basic mindfulness meditations on YouTube or an app like Headspace or Calm.
Set – and uphold – your boundaries
Learning to set boundaries is essential for maintaining your well-being. Understand that it’s okay to say no when you need to. Setting boundaries with your time and energy can help you avoid burnout and maintain a healthier work-life balance. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and limits with those around you.
Try not to lose sight of your own hobbies and interests
Reconnect with your hobbies and interests outside of motherhood. It’s easy to become so engrossed in caring for your family that you forget about your own passions and hobbies. Make time to pursue your interests, whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, gardening, or any other creative outlet that brings you joy.
Get (very) comfortable saying no
Saying no when necessary is a powerful self-care tool. You don’t have to take on every request or task that comes your way. Prioritise your well-being and only commit to what you can reasonably handle. Accept that you can’t please everyone all the time. We love this post from Forbes which rather bluntly expresses the hard truth about why you need to say no, often.
Incorporate self-care into family activities
You can even incorporate seasonal fun into your family life, like adapting your home and leisure activities! We recently posted about how you can make the most of Autumn, and this might offer you some inspiration. You can spend more time with your family in nature, or together you can: prepare healthy foods, listen to soothing music, enjoy a feel-good film, and so much more!
Putting yourself first sometimes is essential to being the best mother you can be, as well as the best example to your children. Taking care of yourself and making self-care a non-negotiable is an integral part of being the best mother you can be. Remember that self-care is often not a luxury, but an actual health requirement and the wellness basics of nutrient-rich foods, exercise, sleep, even sunlight… are all easily neglected in motherhood.
Your family can sometimes also be a part of your self-care as long as you can find ways to bring whatever self-care is for you into your family life (is it too early to watch Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas?). Finally, get comfortable saying no to things so that you have capacity for the things you want to say yes too, and accept that you can’t please everyone. You got this!